TheatreFIRST has teamed up with actor-activist Carl Lumbly to address actor empowerment. “It all starts with the audition process,” says Jon Tracy, Artistic Facilitator of TheatreFIRST. “An actor in the room with a director, exploring stories, is more than an audition, it’s development work. It asks tremendous dedication from all involved and therefore all involved should be paid. It values an artist’s time, voice, and craft.”
TheatreFIRST will continue its model of doing first round auditions by video (and will assist any actor without the technology), allowing artists the ability to deliver work around their schedules. Invited callbacks will be viewed as process, and each actor will be paid $15 for any portion of an hour in the room. Further, during this process, TheatreFIRST will provide onsite child and elder care.
“The idea is simple,” says Lumbly: “Value actors for the effort they make to audition. Acknowledge that the time an actor takes to prepare an audition is noted and appreciated. When Jon Tracy told me that TheatreFIRST was launching an effort to do just that, I got in touch with a friend, who prefers to remain anonymous, and their response was immediate: they put the first drop in the bucket.”
The initiative, nicknamed CALLBUCKS (thank you, Carl), works in connection with T1’s Actor Bill of Rights, an evolving document that seeks to give artists assurances in the room, including; well prepared audition material, on-time and well organized processes (that never exceed 90 minutes), a zero harassment tolerance, and respect for personal identity.
Tracy adds, “Like everything TheatreFIRST does, this is an experiment. It’s a crack. It certainly does not solve the problem but we believe it begins to ask real questions of how we take care of our artists. Knowing that everyone in the audition room has a job is the beginning of equity. Carl and TheatreFIRST will meet regularly to assess what we are learning from this endeavor and what the next steps should be.”
General Audition videos are accepted at all times. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details